The challenge MakeTank and Thingarage issued with our 3DPRINTforAID contest, created to award a 3D-printed socially useful object, goes on. Before the deadline of September, 23rd you can upload your project on the contest webpage and then... cross your fingers. The award ceremony will be held during Maker Faire Rome 2014.

To give you some hints you may need, we've talked with Beatrice Costa, member of 3DPRINTforAID jury and Head of Programs Department for ActionAid Italy. She has some very interesting ideas in regards to digital innovations and human rights promotion.

Beatrice Costa

Social exclusion and poverty: what's the picture of the situation ActionAid gets today in the world?

In the last 15 years the world took giant steps ahead in defeating famine and poverty: United Nations estimate that from 1999 to 2010 the number of people living in extreme poverty decreased by 700 millions. Nonetheless, inequality between the richest and the most excluded people increased in many countries.

Nations once considered as underdeveloped are now superpowers, but also in these contexts poverty and social exclusion are far from being defeated. Italy itself today shows new forms of exclusion and the number of families living in deprivation increased: in five years (from 2007 to 2012) the poor of our country doubled.

Based on your experience, in which sectors new technologies can become crucial in resolving social issues?

We think new technologies can increase institutions' transparency in supplying essential public services, but also citizens' involvement in defining better inclusion and poverty-hindering policies. Technology can reduce gaps and increase solidarity and exchange opportunities also between people living far away. What matters most is that all technologies aiming to make people's lives better are designed with people themselves, and that there is a sharing process between who creates and who can use them.

ActionAid Italia

Is this the first time you are involved in a project like 3DPRINTforAID contest?

Last year we joined RENA/PIONIERI project, looking for organizations working on social change in their own communities. A very stimulating experience that let us get in touch with many social innovation entities in Italy.

Five years from now, what you wouldn't like to worry about thanks to Digital Fabrication techniques?

We'd like people could - thanks to digital innovations - more easily control institutions' accountability in fulfilling citizens' rights! Also, we'd like to see Digital Fabrication helping to promote little farmers' rights, with innovations studied for them, and involving women too, so that they shouldn't suffer discrimination and violence, as it happens still today.

Data and information are crucial in social issues: all the inventions with a strong technological content which reduce data and information access gap for most excluded people will be the key to stop worrying about famine, poverty and exclusion. It's a big challenge for all the organizations working on human rights.


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